Gniewek’s play lifts Mountain Lakes

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountylacrosse

MOUNTAIN LAKES–Mountain Lakes registered a comfortable 17-4 victory over Caldwell in Group I state play on Thursday but it would have been a lot more difficult if Carly Gniewek wasn’t between the pipes.

The senior netminder corralled 12 saves including a few tough ones to help the Lakers earn a second-round victory. The third-seeded Lakers will play Kent Place, a 20-7 victor over DePaul, in the semifinal round of the group tournament.

Sophomore midfielder Alli LaBeau scored three goals in a balanced offensive contest for Mountain Lakes. Eleven players scored in all. Margot Fitzgerald, Olivia Fernandez, Casey Drollinger and Hallie Walker scored two goals apiece. The Lakers led 8-3 at the half and had a 9-1 second-half run despite subbing out some of their better players.

The sparkling play of Gniewek put the Lakers firmly in control.

“I’ve always had the utmost confidence in her,’’Mountain Lakescoach Jen Munday said. “She is a very special kid in the sense that she doesn’t really get frazzled. She is very easygoing and I think when she’s having fun and she has that easygoing attitude, she makes saves.’’

Mountain Lakes goalkeeper Carly Gniewek uncorks an outlet pass during Thursday’s state tournament win.

A backup for Britt Digness until her junior year, Gniewek is a scholar athlete with a strong GPA. She’s headed forCornell Universityin the fall.

“We played Ridgewooda bunch of weeks ago,’’ Munday said. “When she came off the field she told me she was having fun. If she gets her stick on some shots early, then she’s pretty hard to beat.’’

The Lakers were also strong on the draw with a good performance by center Lauren Lubowitz.

“She works at the draw,’’ Munday said. “She wants to learn new things about it. In the offseason she really worked on her strength and stability. It’s really benefited her on the field.’’

Mountain Lakes’ Lauren Lubowitz is ready to draw with Caldwell’s Annie Mergner.

After Caldwell’s Kate Naspo scored on a free position to make it a 10-4 game, Mountain Lakes kept its opponents scoreless for the final 17 minutes of play. It gave the opportunity for Munday to rest starters Ingrid Hermanson and Grace Newfrock among others. Even though the team’s recent playoff games against Verona and Caldwell, have been largely non-competitive, they have afforded some of the younger Mountain Lakes players post-season opportunities.

Mountain Lakes’ Maddy Siebold is ready to stick check Caldwell’s Annie Mergner on Thursday.

“The whole attitude we have toward states is approach every game as if it’s going to be your last,’’ Munday said. “We have to go out and fight and be aggressive. That’s the way the kids are playing. It gives some of the younger kids a chance for more exposure but I think everybody played hard.’’

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About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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